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Generating Job Opportunities for Mountain Guides and Porters in Kenya
Published 02/06/2024 by Global Communities
By Tindi Sitati and Mike Kipngeno
Nestled within the scenic landscapes of Nyeri County, Mt. Kenya Guides and Porters Safari Worker Cooperative stands as an inspiring example of the transformative influence of the worker cooperative model in Kenya’s tourism sector. Originating as an informal group in 1971, the cooperative has since flourished into a vibrant enterprise that currently consists of 153 dedicated members.
The cooperative’s journey toward success gained momentum through a strategic partnership with Global Communities, which facilitated a crucial connection to the Nyeri County government. This collaborative effort was made possible under CLEAR, a Cooperative Development Program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Mt. Kenya Guides and Porters’ participation in CLEAR paved the way for essential training sessions encompassing pre-cooperative principles, digital marketing, safety protocols, customer management and recordkeeping.
“The county has been doing its part, Global Communities has been doing its part, but more importantly, the cooperative themselves, they are self-driven,” said Tarichia Kendi, a county executive committee member of Trade, Tourism, Culture and Cooperative Development in Nyeri County. “This is what gives us this commitment to [Mt. Kenya Guides and Porters], because we can see sustainability into the future.”
Specializing in mountain climbing services, Mt. Kenya Guides and Porters’ diverse membership boasts expertise in botany, wildlife, culinary arts and portering. This bolsters the cooperative’s commitment to delivering a comprehensive and enriching experience for tourists. During peak seasons, it formally engages the local community’s unemployed youth and provides them with opportunities to earn income by assisting members in their work.
“Personally, I have benefited financially through the cooperative,” said Elias Githinji, chairperson of Mt. Kenya Guides and Porters. “I have been able to sustain my family. I have been able to educate my children.”
Beyond showcasing the captivating landscapes and exhilarating climbs unique to the country, the cooperative also has emerged as a catalyst for socio-economic development in Kenya.
“We see cooperatives as perhaps the strongest cog in driving the social economic transformation that we are looking for as a county and as a country,” Kendi said.
Learn more about Mt. Kenya Guides and Porters and its partnership with Global Communities and the Nyeri County government in the video below.
This success story is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Global Communities and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.